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Three 12-Year-Olds Wounded in Finland School Shooting, Child Suspect Caught

Three children aged 12 have been wounded in a shooting at a school in the Finnish city Vantaa, police said.

Police said they responded to the incident at Viertola school before 09:00 (06:00 GMT) on Tuesday and urged local residents to remain indoors.

A suspect, who police said was also aged 12, fled but was later arrested.

The school has 800 students and 90 staff. Children were told to stay in their classrooms after the attack, public broadcaster YLE reported.

In common with other Finnish schools, children had just returned to classes in Vantaa, north of the capital Helsinki, after the long Easter weekend.

Police said the suspect had run off after the shooting and was eventually detained “in a calm manner” on the other side of a local river in a district of northern Helsinki. They added that he had been carrying a firearm which they had taken from him.

It has not yet given details of the extent of the three children’s injuries.

Prime Minister Petteri Orpo described the shooting as profoundly upsetting and said his thoughts were with the victims and their families as well as everyone at the school.

The school has students aged seven to 15 of both primary and middle-school age on two separate sites.

As news emerged of the shooting, parents gathered where the incident happened, at the Jokiranta site where pupils aged 9-12 are taught.

Initially police said everyone involved was 13 but then revised their ages down to 12.

Vantaa is Finland’s fourth biggest city with some 240,000 residents.

Finland saw two deadly school shootings in a matter of months in 2007 and 2008, prompting the tightening of gun laws.

But it is widely known as a country of hunters and gun enthusiasts and has 430,000 licensed gun owners in a population of 5.5 million, according to government statistics. There is no limit to the number of guns that can be owned and the interior ministry says more than 1.5 million are in circulation.

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Comfort Samuel

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